What's the worst thing that could happen to your hair? Split ends? Dried bristle strands? Lackluster hair? Close but not really. The worst thing is of course, hair loss. In fact, you'd rather have all those other problems than to lose your crowning glory altogether.
Hair Loss, which can be caused by genetic factors, stress of illness, overactive or underactive thyroid gland, hormonal changes due to medications, and certain hairstyles and treatments such as tight hair rollers or cornrows, can be treated. However, if you're suffering from hair loss, don't jump into treatment without first equipping yourself with proper knowledge about it.
You have two options on hair loss treatment:
- use of medications to treat hair loss
- hair transplant surgery
Below, hair loss treatments through medications will be discussed.
Key Facts about Hair Loss Medicines
- Treatment with medications may slow hair loss or thinning and even help regrow hair.
- But don't expect much as your hair may not return to its usual state.
- If you opt to take the medication, you must continually do so or else the regrown hair will fall out.
- Hair loss medicines are usually not covered by insurance and the costs can be staggering.
- It's dangerous to take such drugs if you are pregnant or have certain medical conditions such as heart ailments.
Medicines Available for Hair Loss Treatment
If the hair loss is due to genetic factors, this can be treated with following medicines:
Minoxidil (Rogaine): This can be purchased without prescription. To use this, spray or rub it on your scalp twice a day. Both men and women can make use of this treatment.
Finasteride: This is a prescription pill that you take once a day. It is not yet approved for women to use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It should never be taken by women who are or may be pregnant as this can cause birth defects.
These medicines can treat inherited hair loss by slowing down the process of thinning as well as increasing the coverage of the scalp with newly grown hair. It also works to thicken the hair shaft so don't be surprised if your hair strands are thicker than usual.
Effectiveness and Side Effects of Hair Loss Medicines
The effectiveness of both medicines depends on:
- the person's age and the location of the hair loss
- For some people, the medicines do not work.
- For some, regrow can be seen after six months of use.
- For men, Minoxidil 5 percent solution is more effective than the one with 2 percent solution.
- Minoxidil 5 percent solution is more expensive and has more side effects than Minoxidil 2 percent solution.
Common side effects of both medicines include:
- skin irritation
- itchy scalp
- For women, additional side effects are facial hair growth, particularly on the forehead and cheeks.